The rise of vintage clothing

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Tik Tok is a social media phenomenon. With over 689 million monthly users worldwide, it’s no surprise that it’s a very influential platform.

The concept of TikTok is simple. You upload short, eye-catching videos, whether it’s a montage of your favorite actor in a movie, or a video of you dancing and having fun. The app allows people to express their creativity and is a place where communities can come together.

There are thousands of different elements and niches on TikTok, one that I often find myself immersed in is often known as “Fashion TikTok”. Basically a section of the app that has outfit inspiration and new creative looks. This is where most of the current fashion trends are set. Oversized hoodies, tennis skirts and diamond prints are all examples of fashion trends that have been presented to the public via TikTok. However, like many social media platforms, TikTok perpetuates the culture of trending, which forces people to conform to new trends for fear of being labeled as “too basic.”

On different social media platforms such as YouTube, I know there has been a huge following for “Try the Races”. Which basically involves a Youtuber buying exorbitant amounts of clothing from big retailers like Asos and Shein. Which is both horrible for the environment and a huge contributor to fast fashion.

Currently on TikTok, influencers have made the purchase of second-hand clothing “trendy”. Thousands of influencers on the app encourage their followers to embrace the new “Vintage” look. Embracing iconic ’90s and 2000s fashion moments, it’s clear that older styles are making a comeback. In particular, Y2K made a huge comeback, with 1.5 billion videos under this hashtag. What better place to find old models and make new ones than at your local charity store or second-hand clothing websites like Depop, Vinted, and Ebay.

Depop is an international thrift store site. Since its inception in 2011, Depop has accumulated over 15 million users worldwide who primarily buy and sell second-hand clothing. I spoke to Vintage Club UK, a London based company that has over 32,000 subscribers on its Depop platform. It offers “affordable and sustainable branded clothing for the world”. Vintage Club described Depop as “a regular producer”, claiming that Depop is “a super simple platform” and that essentially “more stock = more sales”. I was intrigued by how the pandemic affected businesses on Depop. According to Vintage Club UK, “The pandemic has had a positive impact on all online e-commerce activities.”

I also spoke to Georgina of Blue Trax, a small platform company. Georgina sources and sells beautiful vintage pieces. I wanted to know his opinion on fast fashion. She told me, “We have to realize that preserving vintage clothing is the most sustainable option. We can always be on trend by just browsing stores like mine. ‘

Georgina is right. To be fashionable, we shouldn’t have to buy tons of new clothes, from companies that exploit and underpay their workers. I think this trend on TikTok is actually a good thing because it encourages people to support small businesses and charities. However, my main question is, is this trend genuine? Do people really buy second-hand products for the sake of the environment or because it has become “trendy”? Also, while I encourage everyone reading this article to start buying used, I want you to do it for the right reasons.

With special thanks to:

VINTAGE CLUB store – Depop

Georgina’s Shop – Depop


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